Zambia, the lesser travelled Southern Africa
Tanzania has its mountains, Kenya its game parks, Malawi its lake, South Africa its beaches and Zambia? It has its people. Okay, so it has Victoria Falls, which is rather impressive, but if I had to say my favourite thing about Zambia, it would be its people.
Vic Falls in low water
Volunteer Opportunities: see Volunteer Zambia
Getting there: Interntaional flights into Lusaka, Livingstone and Lilongwe (actually in Malawi but closer to projects in the east of Zambia than Lusaka)
Airline: KLM, Ethiopian Airlines
Currency: Kwacha. Roughly 500 ZMK = 1usd
Budget: Cost of living is relatively high, especially in comparison to Malawi next door. Budget 15 - 20 usd per night for accommodation, 30 usd per week for food if self-catering and 25 usd for any long distance bus rides.
Languages: There are roughly 73 local languages, so email in advance to find out the main language in your placement area! However, you will get by with English pretty well.
Visas: Techinically a work permit is required, but it seems to be quite a bit of hassle. Speak to your volunteer co-ordinator, most will say that a tourist visa is enough at first, though some will begin the process of applying for one on our behalf before arriving.
Economics: Though many are struggling with poverty, Zambia was declared a middle income country in 2013. Much of the money in Zambia comes from the copper mines in the west, though NGO's seems to be the life blood of the capital. Urban Zambia certainly feels more developed than its neighbours to the east, north and west, and virtually anything you need is available in the cities and towns. However, as Zambia is landlocked and does not have a well developed manufacturing industry, almost everythng is imported, which drives up the prices of everything from food to car parts.
Tourism: Victoria Falls is hugely impressive. It is the largest (though neither highest nor widest....) waterfall in the world and definately worth a visit, especially during rafting season! You should also not miss a chance to check out Zambias wildlife in one of it's many game parks and if you like crocs, get yourself to Kariba lake!!
The Ethical Volunteer promotes locally owned and managed lodges and hostels so any costs you pay trickle down into the community (and dont go towards and agency based in America or Europe!)
All Ethical Volunteer Members receive a 50 Euro discount on a one months stay and 10% thereafter. So sign up and you will be contributing towards local economies, save money and support our ongoing work to bring you ethical and independent volunteer opportunities!